Gender Schmender

Why do we still have gender?

If I could change one thing in the world it would be abandoning set gender altogether.

I am not saying no biological sex, just no gender. I am not saying you can’t do all the things that have traditionally been labelled masculine or feminine. On the contrary you should be able to do all of them with no judgement attached.

I had a toy car when I was very tiny and I remember my dad and mum taking it away from me just before my brother was born, because it wasn’t a girl’s toy and I shouldn’t have had it anyway. He could have it now.

Even though he hadn’t actually been born at that point and it the white paint, which was probably made with lead, had mostly fallen off the car.

For a long time when I was little insisted on wearing skirts and dresses every day and never trousers as I thought someone might think I was a boy if I wore trousers. We moved house when I was 4 and I remember seeing the neighbours’ daughter wearing Rupert the bear type trousers and realising she was definitely not a boy and it was fine to wear trousers. It was such a liberating feeling.

I always wanted a Sindy doll, but even more I wanted the electric Evel Knievel, the programmable electric car and the swivel eyed action man my brother had. He very rarely let me play with any of them.

And all the Star Wars figures and Lego.

I got a lot of Star Wars figures anyway, but never enough Lego to build more than half a house.

I eventually got a doll that was a bit like a Sindy. I immediately cut off her hair and pretended she was a punk single mother. I borrowed my brothers Action Man anyway and dressed him in some of the same clothes. My brother got mad and snatched him back so I decided that my Sindy was now going to be Action Man after he left the army. Still a punk single mother.

Very few things need to be gendered. Clothing should not be gendered.

If I want to wear Doc Martens, a Tutu, a top Hat and a combat jacket that should be fine. If you wanted to wear those things that should also be fine, whoever you are. It might look stupid but you should still be allowed to do it without anyone batting an eye.

I recently got some shower gel from a hotel that says it is a ‘unisex’ fragrance. It is made with plant fragrances,. Most perfume is made with plant fragrances. Why is it feminine to smell like a rose but masculine to smell of sandalwood? It makes no sense.

Why is playing with dolls a feminine thing, unless they are action figures?

Why is ‘feminine’ a thing, anyway these days, why is ‘masculine; a thing?

Why can’t we all play with the toys we want, wear what we want, love who we love and do all the singing and dancing and sports and science and construction and cooking and needlework we want without anyone thinking we are doing things reserved for a different gender than the one we have been told we must have?

I recently got an email from Getty images saying they have a load of images to celebrate gender fluidity. About 50 per cent of them turned out to be young women wearing hard hats, doing science, being doctors or playing sports. None of these things should be associated with a particular gender.

That said, being misgendered, whatever your gender, is annoying. And maybe that is another pitfall of the present system.

Perceptions of who you are from other people are always going to be bases on supposition and guesses. If you go online and do everything you would do in real life that have been called masculine or feminine traits, but you have a non-gendered name and icon, you will soon find that everyone will make assumptions based on who you are and they are likely to be the wrong ones.

If you have long hair in real life, whoever you are, you are likely to be perceived as feminine or female even if you are not. A friend, biologically male, had long hair and a big beard and was still constantly called madame.

But not always.

I went to a computer shop once, my long hair in a pony tail, wearing jeans and a velvet jacket that was designed for women. I had my back to the shop assistant and he approached me and said ‘how can I help you sir?’ I turned around, a bit annoyed but bemused and all I could think to do was point at my breasts. He looked surprised and then apologised.

If we had no sir or madam this sort of thing wouldn’t happen.

I recently changed my Facebook picture to a muffin with blueberries for eyes. I decided to also change the words she and her to ‘they’. Then I thought, why not just change what gender Facebook thinks I am. They have male female and other, but you have to type in what other or it won’t let you have that. I typed Whatever and that wasn’t allowed. Then I found they have a drop down box, but it doesn’t appear unless you type the first few letters of the option they do have. I typed G and got a few options, but there are apparently 71. You won’t see them all at once and you won’t know what they all are unless you know them all and type the first letter of each into the box. I went with neutral, though cisgender was one. Cisgender just means you are the gender you were when you started. Which makes no sense, really, because gender is an illusion so you never actually had a gender to start with.

The Native Americans had more than two genders before they were invaded:

“Many of the world’s cultures recognize more than two genders. The notion that there are those of us who do not fit precisely into either a male or female role has historically been accepted by many groups. Among Native Americans, the role of third, fourth, or even fifth genders has been widely documented.” A Native American Perspective on the Theory of Gender Continuum by DRK Written by Berdache Jordan

Recently someone in America decided to ask the authorities to let them have a neutral, non-binary, gender identity. They had been in the army and married for years, but after retiring had decided to transition as a woman, and carry on living with their wife. After a bit they decided that didn’t feel right either. They put in a legal challenge and got it. The first person to have legal recognition of the status,. And it turned out they just need to pay $1000 for the paperwork and it just happened. The Guardian — Jamie Shupe Becomes First Legally Non-Binary Person in The US

We could all do that, say, “Stuff gender”.

Just be you and see what happens.